Stop subsidizing low-paying billionaires
Donald Trump routinely tweets about Amazon and its billionaire founder, Jeff Bezos, but the company stays silent.
But when Sen. Bernie Sanders criticized the company for its poor wages and dangerous working conditions, the company issued a rare statement in response.1
Sen. Sanders angered company executives by pointing out that Amazon, like other big employers, pays so little that many workers turn to public assistance to survive. But he isn't just critiquing their practices, he is trying to end them.2
Sen. Sanders' proposal to force companies to pay a living wage deserves our full-throated support.
Stand with Sen. Sanders: Stop subsidizing low-paying billionaires.
Amazon made $3.03 billion last year and Bezos saw his personal wealth increase from $99 to $157 billion. The company is so profitable because it shortchanges suppliers, uses its massive market monopoly power to undercut entire industries and local businesses, and pays its workers so little. Meanwhile, taxpayers essentially subsidize low-wage employers like Amazon with $150 billion each year in public benefits for their low-income workers.3
In order to survive and take care of their families, between 1 in 3 and 1 in 10 Amazon employees, depending on the state, must turn to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), commonly referred to as food stamps. Some employees unfairly designated as "contractors" may earn even less. On top of it all, Amazon warehouses rank among the most dangerous and a number of workers have died on the job. The situation is similar for workers at Walmart and most of America's biggest and most profitable employers.4
Sen. Sanders' idea is simple: Either these billionaire companies start paying their workers a living wage – or the government will tax them the exact cost of taking care of their employees. So if a worker would starve or lose housing without that $500 per month in help from the American people, Amazon must pay $500. That's a pro-worker proposal that needs our support.
We at CREDO will always stand in solidarity with our sisters and brothers in the labor movement. Right now, one way we can do that is by ending the subsidies that help businesses make billions while they refuse to pay their workers a living wage.
Thank you for speaking out.
- Abha Bhattarai, "Bernie vs. Bezos: Amazon and Sanders are duking it out over warehouse working conditions," The Washington Post, Aug. 29, 2018.
- Abha Bhattarai, "Thousands of Amazon workers receive food stamps. Now Bernie Sanders wants the company to pay up." The Washington Post, Aug. 23, 2018.
- Chad Broughton, “When Labor Day Meant Something,” The Atlantic, September 1, 2014.